German President Horst Koehler paid a surprise visit to German troops in Afghanistan's Hindu Kush mountains on Friday.
Koehler, whose position is largely ceremonial, met with some of the 4,300 German troops currently stationed in the country to hear their stories and honour those fallen in combat.
Berlin in February decided to increase its presence in the region to 5,350 troops in order to get on top of deteriorating security. The additional troops are planned to deploy in July.
Germany, which has the third largest presence in Afghanistan, has been criticised for its post-World War Two restrictions on combat. Polls show most Germans oppose the involvement, which Chancellor Angela Merkel vows to continue.
Shortly before the president's arrival, German troops came under fire near Feyzabad. The soldiers returned fire, but no one was injured.
ReutersLast Mod: 22 Mayıs 2010, 10:19